The Quiet Men


Mr Pearce.

My favourite teacher had the thankless task of trying to teach me history from when I was 14 to 18. That wasn’t the period we covered -we did wars and stuff- but that’s when he was my teacher.

He was simply a lovely understated man who was trying very hard to help us get a half-decent education, he also had a passing resemblance to the bloke from Deacon Blue, but this isn’t particularly relevant to the story, so try not to focus on that.

One day, just before the lesson had started, a classmate was demonstrating to us all how she could thread a condom up one nostril and out the other. I’ll admit I was impressed especially when, to emphasise this AWESOME TALANT, she started pulling each end of the condom. It was at this point that Mr Pearce walked in to witness one of his 15-year-old pupils basically flossing her head with a johnny.

Did he scream and shout? Did he send her to the Headmaster or threaten her with expulsion? No, he just rubbed his forehead and quietly said “Please don’t do that Hayley, it’s not nice”.  If that’s not the biggest understatement ever uttered in the history of mankind I don’t know what the hell is. From that moment Mr Pearce became my hero, and in life I try to emulate his calm restraint, but I just don’t have the ice-cool composure of a man who knows, that after just a couple more hours of this crap, he will be in the pub.

For the record, Hayley extracted the prophylactic from her face and we got on with the lesson. I have no idea what she is doing now, but I wish her well for she will always have my upmost respect and admiration. I was half expecting her to turn up on the first couple of series of Britain’s Got Talent, but it was not to be.

Marcus Wareing

For me, food and danger have always been inextricably entwined, as anyone who has ever eaten anything I have made will attest to. I’m a nutter, I’ll reheat pork for Christ’s sake, I just don’t care. However I’ve never been quite so scared in the presence of a plate of food as I was when I was watching MasterChef: The Professionals a couple of weeks ago and came across the psycho chef that is (Be)Wareing. He is like Begbie from Trainspotting, only less stable.

Wareing makes Gordon Ramsey look like an obnoxious little brat. Screaming and shouting profanities is not for him, he is coldly sinister, quietly whispering to the cooks in his kitchen that they will not let him down.  He doesn’t make any actual threats, but they are implied. An undertone of violence ripples under the surface of his calm demeanor.

Staring down at the plate of food he has just been served, his gaze does not shift from the food as he quiets asks in chilling monotone, “And you’re happy with this are you?

To his credit the young cook does not to soil himself with fear, or pass out. He just manages to mutter, “Yes Chef”, though his mouth is dry and his eyes are darting about the room, looking for the nearest exit.

I half expect Wareing to explode into a bloody rage, smashing the meal with his fist and decapitating the trembling contestant with a shard of the plate, before leaping on his twitching corpse and ramming what remains of pan seared monk fish down the neck cavity.

However, Wareing decides he likes it, and lets him live.

It’s pretty impressive to be so intimidating. I’m incapable of scaring anyone, except my children who run away screaming whenever I shout “Dinner’s ready”.


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